Commentary: Airlines Feel the Pinch as Boomer-age Pilots Refuse the Vax Mandate

Remember the mandate to fire anyone who wouldn’t be coerced into getting vaccinated craze that consumed much of the first year of the Biden presidency?

Joe Biden is really hoping that you won’t.

Airline disruptions and cancellations are part of the ongoing “supply chain” crisis which is playing havoc with the U.S. and world economy. Sure would be nice to have some of those pilots, flight attendants and ground crew back at the airports now, wouldn’t it?  United Airlines alone claimed that 2,200 workers who received religious or medical exemptions from the vaccine would be placed on administrative leave or put into roles which did not touch customers.

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United Offers Pilots Triple Pay to Cover Flights Amid Ongoing Omicron Disruptions

United Airlines plane on runway

United Airlines is offering its pilots a whopping threefold increase in pay to help cover employee shortfalls as the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to wreak havoc on multiple industries around the country.

The Air Line Pilots Association announced this week that it had reached a payment agreement with the company for covering flights throughout the month of January.

“Due to the rapid spread of the COVID Omicron variant, we are currently seeing record levels of pilot sick calls,” the union wrote to members. “The impact on the operation is clear and United has experienced a correspondingly large number of cancellations over the past week.”

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United Employees Granted Vax Exemptions Put on Unpaid Leave, Can’t Work Elsewhere, Activists Claim

United Airlines plane on runway

United Airlines employees who have been granted exemptions to the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate are allegedly being placed on indefinite unpaid leave, unable to seek employment elsewhere within the industry, access their 401(k) retirement savings, or file for unemployment.

United Airlines Capt. Sherry Walker, who has been placed on indefinite unpaid leave, told Just the News that United employees seeking reasonable accommodation regarding the company’s vaccine mandate for religious or medical reasons are being placed on indefinite unpaid leave and cannot leave their job for another airline because of the noncompete clause in their contracts.

Walker is cofounder of Airline Employees 4 Health Freedom (AE4HF), which represents 4,000 airline employees, about half of whom are with United.

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Arizona Pilot Suing United Airlines over Vaccine Mandate

United Airlines plane on runway

David Morgan, a pilot and Arizona resident, is suing United Airlines over the company’s recently-imposed vaccine mandate.

Morgan, who has worked for the company for more than two decades, argued his religious beliefs dictated his decisions to not receive the vaccine. However, United denied his exemption.

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United Airlines to Become First Major Airline Requiring Staff be Vaccinated

United Airlines plane on runway

United Airlines announced Friday that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting this fall, making it the first major airline to do so.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart announced in a memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

The order requiring proof of vaccination will go into effect five weeks after the Federal Drug Administration officially gives full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines, or by Oct. 25, whichever comes first, The Hill newspaper reports. The FDA is expects to start giving full approval as early as next month.

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